Kings Survey Part II: How to Prophet in Tough Times
A. Serve & Speak for a Living God 17:1 And Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead, said to Ahab, As the LORD God of Israel lives, before whom I stand, there shall not be dew nor rain these years, but according to my word
B. Obey God for Sustenance 3...hide thyself by the brook Cherith 4 you shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed you there. 7 brook dried up...9 Arise, go to Zarephath...I have commanded a widow woman there to sustain you. 10 So he arose and went to Zarephath.
C. Believe God and pray in spite of circumstances 12 As the LORD thy God lives, I have not a cake, but an handful of meal in a barrel, and a little oil in a cruse: and, behold, I am gathering two sticks, that I may go in and prepare it for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die. 13 And Elijah said to her, Fear not; go and do as you have said: but make me of it a little cake first, and bring it to me, and afterward make for you and for thy son. 14 For thus saith the LORD God of Israel, The barrel of meal shall not be used up, neither shall the cruse of oil fail, until the day that the LORD sends rain upon the earth 15 And she went and did according to the saying of Elijah...18 What have I to do with you, O you man of God? art you come to me to call my sin to remembrance, and to slay my son? 20 And he cried to the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, have you also brought evil upon the widow with whom I sojourn, by slaying her son? 21 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried to the LORD, and said, O LORD my God, I pray you, let this child's soul come into him again. 22 And the LORD heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived. 24 And the woman said to Elijah, Now by this I know that you art a man of God, and that the word of the LORD in thy mouth is truth.
D. Expect to be blamed for others' folly 18:17 Ahab saw Elijah, Art you he that troubles Israel? 18...I have not troubled Israel; but you, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the LORD, and you have followed Baalim.
E. Make the choice clear 18:21 And Elijah came to all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD is God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
F. Expect a battle 18:19 gather to me all Israel to mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal 450, and the prophets of the idols 400, who eat at Jezebel's table...24 And call ye on the name of your gods, and I will call on the name of the LORD: and the God that answers by fire, let him be God. And all the people answered and said, It is well spoken.
G. Try not to mock your opponent 26...called on the name of Baal from morning even until noon, saying, O Baal, hear us. But there was no voice, nor any that answered. And they leaped upon the altar which was made. 27 Elijah mocked them, and said, Cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is on a journey, or perhaps he sleeps, and must be awakened. 28 And they cried aloud, and cut themselves after their manner with knives and lancets, till the blood gushed out upon them. 29 when midday was past, and they prophesied until the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that there was neither voice, nor any to answer, nor any that regarded.
H. Don't make it easy for God 30 And Elijah said to all the people, Come near to me. And all the people came near to him. And he repaired the altar of the LORD that was broken down. 31 And Elijah took twelve stones...32...built an altar in the name of the LORD: and he made a trench 36 time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near, and said, LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and of Israel, let it be known this day that you art God in Israel, and that I am thy servant, and that I have done all these things at thy word.
I. Have a TOYL Purpose 37 Hear me, O LORD, hear me, that this people may know that you art the LORD God, and that you have turned their heart back again. 38 Then the fire of the LORD fell, and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood, and the stones, and the dust, and licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 And when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces: and they said, The LORD, he is the God; the LORD, he is the God.
J. Call for eradication 40 And Elijah said to them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there.
K. Expect persecution when successful 19:2 Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not thy life as the life of one of them by to morrow about this time.
L. Don't let yourself get drained 4...wilderness, and came and sat...and he requested for himself that he might die; and said, It is enough; now, O LORD, take away my life; for I am not better than my fathers. 5 slept...eat 7...repeat...
M. Speak your heart to God humbly 9 cave...of the LORD came to him, and he said to him, What do you here, Elijah? 10 And he said, I have been very jealous for the LORD God of hosts: for the children of Israel have forsaken thy covenant, thrown down thy altars, and slain thy prophets with the sword; and I, I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.
N. Listen for God's voice as you obey 11 Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD...the LORD passed by...LORD was not in the wind...LORD was not in the earthquake: 12...LORD was not in the fire...a still small voice. 13 when Elijah heard he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entrance of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice to him, and said, What do you here, Elijah?
O. Do what God has said 15 And the LORD said to him, Go, return on thy way to the wilderness of Damascus: anoint Hazael to be king over Syria: 16 And Jehu the son of Nimshi anoint to be king over Israel: and Elisha the son of Shaphat of Abelmeholah anoint to be prophet in thy stead.
P. Don't get an Athanasius complex 18 Yet I have left to me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed to Baal, and every mouth which has not kissed him.
Q. Make disciples 19 So he departed from there, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.
R. Remember the Objective 20:28 And there came a man of God, and spoke to the king of Israel, and said, Thus saith the LORD, Because the Syrians have said, The LORD is God of the hills, but he is not God of the valleys, therefore will I deliver all this great multitude into thy hand, and ye shall know that I am the LORD.
S. Obey precisely 20:35 sons of the prophets said to his neighbor in the word of the LORD, Smite me, I pray you. And the man refused to smite him. 36 Then said he to him, Because you have not obeyed the voice of the LORD, behold, as soon as you have departed from me, a lion shall slay you. And as soon as he had departed from him, a lion found him, and slew him.
T. Let them reach the conclusion 39 And as the king passed by, he cried to the king: and he said, Thy servant went out into the midst of the battle; and, behold, a man turned aside, and brought a man to me, and said, Keep this man: if by any means he shall be missing, then shall thy life be for his life, or else you shalt pay a talent of silver. 40 And as thy servant was busy here and there, he was gone. And the king of Israel said to him, So shall thy judgment be; thyself have decided it. 41 And he hasted, and took the ashes away from his face; and the king of Israel knew that he was of the prophets. 42 And he said to him, Thus saith the LORD, Because you have let go out of thy hand a man whom I appointed to utter destruction, therefore thy life shall go for his life, and thy people for his people.
U. Give Good News: Your dogs will be well fed! 21:2 Ahab spoke to Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near to my house: and I will give you for it a better vineyard than it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you the worth of it in money....17 And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 18 Arise, go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who is in Samaria: behold, he is in the vineyard of Naboth, where he is gone down to possess it. 19 And you shalt speak to him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, Have you killed, and also taken possession? And you shalt speak to him, saying, Thus saith the LORD, In the place where dogs licked the blood of Naboth shall dogs lick thy blood, even thine. 20 And Ahab said to Elijah, Have you found me, O my enemy? And he answered, I have found you: because you have sold thyself to work evil in the sight of the LORD. 21 Behold, I will bring evil upon you, and will take away thy posterity, and will cut off from Ahab the males, and him that is shut up and left in Israel, 23 And of Jezebel also spoke the LORD, saying, The dogs shall eat Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel.
V. Aim for humble repentance 25 But there was none like Ahab, who sold himself to work wickedness in the sight of the LORD, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. 26 And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the LORD cast out before the children of Israel. 27 And it came to pass, when Ahab heard those words, that he tore his clothes, and put sackcloth upon his flesh, and fasted, and lay in sackcloth, and went softly. 28 And the word of the LORD came to Elijah the Tishbite, saying, 29 See you how Ahab humbles himself before me? because he humbles himself before me, I will not bring the evil in his days: but in his son's days will I bring the evil upon his house.
W. Be an unpopular majority of One (with God) 22:5 Jehoshaphat said to the king of Israel, Enquire, I pray you, at the word of the LORD to day. 6 Then the king of Israel gathered the prophets together, about four hundred men, and said to them, Shall I go against Ramothgilead to battle, or shall I forbear? And they said, Go up; for the Lord shall deliver it into the hand of the king. 7 And Jehoshaphat said, Is there not here a prophet of the LORD besides, that we may enquire of him? 8 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, There is yet one man, Micaiah the son of Imlah, by whom we may enquire of the LORD: but I hate him; for he does not prophesy good concerning me, but evil. And Jehoshaphat said, Let not the king say so. 13 And the messenger that went to call Micaiah spoke to him, saying, Behold now, the words of the prophets declare good to the king with one mouth: let thy word, I pray you, be like the word of one of them, and speak that which is good.
X. Let God protect you 2Kg 1:3 But the angel of the LORD said to Elijah the Tishbite, Arise, go up to meet the messengers of the king of Samaria, and say to them, Is it not because there is not a God in Israel, that ye go to enquire of Baalzebub the god of Ekron? 4 Now therefore thus saith the LORD, Thou shalt not come down from that bed on which thou art gone up, but shalt surely die. And Elijah departed...8 And they answered him, He was an hairy man, and girt with a leather belt about his loins. And he said, It is Elijah the Tishbite. 15 And the angel of the LORD said to Elijah, Go down with him: be not afraid of him. And he arose, and went down with him to the king.
Questions for Reflection/Discussion/Response:
1. What do you think was the toughest part of Elijah's job?
2. What's the difference between warning, reproving, rebuking, condemning?
3. Why do people "halt between two options" when it comes to following God? 18:21
4. What are some of the causes/cures of depression?
5. What characteristic of Elijah's life could you profitably emulate this week?